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Randonneuring - Ultra-distance Cycling

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Randonneuring - Ultra-distance Cycling

Old 02-02-05, 12:55 AM
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Randonneuring - Ultra-distance Cycling

Are you familiar with Randonneuring?


Randonneur: A cyclist who is trying to complete sanctioned long-distance bicycle events inside a certain time allotment.

Official rides or "Brevets" are over preset routes and distances, and must be completed within a set time limit with check-ins at control points. Riders are expected to be self-sufficient on all rides regardless of the distance or weather (rain or shine, day or night). Randonneuring is more like rallying than racing. All riders successfully completing the course within the allocated time are eligible for awards rather than just the front-runners. Riders are encouraged to work together — they compete against themselves and the route rather than fellow riders. The theme of randonneuring is to promote individual health, goal setting, and achievement — all within a non-competitive athletic environment.

The standard Brevet series consisting of rides with distances of 200, 300, 400, 600 and 1000 kms. The standard Brevets are conducted under the rules of the world governing body — (Brevets Randonneurs Mondiaux). Each ride in the standard series serves as a qualifier for the next longer distance. The Super Randonneur is an honor for randonneurs having done a full Brevet series of 200, 300, 400 and 600 kms in the same year.

The "Super Randonneur" is also required to qualify for the longer distance events such as:
--- The Rocky Mountain 1200 https://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/rocky/rm1200.html — a 1200K ride held every other year in British Columbia,
--- The BMB (Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200K) held just about every year between Boston and Montreal https://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/2750/
--- and many others - see links below.

I completed the RM1200 in 2002 (https://www.machka.net/rm1200/charlene.htm), the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200 in 2003 (https://www.machka.net/pbp/machka.htm), and the Great Southern Randonee 1200 in 2004 where I was the first female to complete that ride (https://www.machka.net/australia/oct26.htm).

The time limits for the distances are as follows:
200K - 13.5 hours
300K - 20 hours
400K - 27 hours
600K - 40 hours
1000K - 75 hours
1200K - 84 or 90 hours (depending on various qualifications)

The clock starts ticking when the rider rolls off the start line and stops when the rider rolls across the finish line. All breaks (sleep, food, etc.) are included in that time. Randonneuring is really a test of endurance.

The biggest event in the world of Randonneurs is the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200 which is held every 4 years. It attracts over 4000 riders!

The longest event (I believe) in the world of Randonneurs is the RAAM (Race Across America https://www.raceacrossamerica.org/).


And some more sites of interest:

Audax UK: https://www.audax.uk.net/index2.htm

Randonneur USA: https://www.rusa.org/

Ultracycling: https://www.ultracycling.com/

Links to specific Randonneuring clubs and events: https://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/links/links.html


If you are looking for a new challenge, or wanting to become fit and lose weight, consider Randonneuring!!
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Old 02-02-05, 03:30 AM
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WOW! you've ridden alot of km's. I almost joined the B.C. Randonneurs last year. Maybe this year? I find those distances intimidating to say the least.

Well, I can live vicariously through people like you I guess!!
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Old 02-02-05, 06:57 AM
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My LBS puts together randonneurs. I would like to get started in them but I'm not sure if I have the 'guff' just yet.
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Old 02-02-05, 08:20 AM
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They also have a 1200km in Washington State now: https://www.cascade1200.com/

I might do some rides, but not the 1200km yet.
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Old 02-02-05, 09:41 AM
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I'll have to check that out. Good links.
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Old 02-02-05, 10:05 AM
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Just started this year since Arizona got a full series started. It started in January, I am registered for the 300k in 2 weeks. I road a 319k solo permanent (a brevet you do on your own basically) on Jan. 3rd. Craziest ride I have ever had as it rained like crazy and I had 13 flats (wore all the lubrication off the inside of my Road Morph pump in the process, full story is here- https://www.lamanchadesign.com/Desert_mtn_Tour.htm ). Many of the towns I rode through had major flooding happening on the roads. Anyway, I am looking to become a super Randonneur this year and try to qualify for the 2000k award RUSA gives out. So yes, I guess you could say I am a bit interested in Randonneuring. My wife says if we get out of debt before 2007 I can go to Paris Brest Paris. That is a bit of a conundrum isn't it? Must buy more bike stuff - No must get out of debt - Auggghhhhh.
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Old 02-02-05, 10:16 AM
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Machka, you kick ass!

I'm gonna do my first 200km ride this summer, nothing official, but certainly within the official time allowed.
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Old 02-02-05, 11:06 AM
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I'm joining the BC Randonneurs this year. Last year I did a few solo centuries and a double century. These were not organized events, just me out there riding. My girlfriend's dad is an accomplished randoonneur, including the PBP.

I'm hoping to complete the full brevet series, super randonneur.
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Old 02-02-05, 11:27 AM
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Paul, that was a nice write up of the event. Better luck w/ the tire gods on the next trip!
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Old 02-02-05, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jsigone
Paul, that was a nice write up of the event. Better luck w/ the tire gods on the next trip!
Thanks. Figure I have my quota for the year (fiercely knocking on wood), If not I have my flat technique finely honed for any conditions I figure!
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Old 02-02-05, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bacardi
WOW! you've ridden alot of km's. I almost joined the B.C. Randonneurs last year. Maybe this year? I find those distances intimidating to say the least.

Well, I can live vicariously through people like you I guess!!

Give it a shot! You never know till you try!! When I started I'd done a few centuries and 200Ks all on my own, so I was comfortable with that distance, but I'd never done anything longer. Still I went out, did the first official 200K brevet on my heavy Mongoose mtn bike (because I tore my rotator cuff about a month before and couldn't put much weight on my left arm - the mtn bike has me sitting more upright), and finished in 12 hours. I thought that was great, and so I decided to give the 300K a go. Before I knew it, I was through the series.

One tip: you say you find the distances intimidating. At least half of Randonneuring is mental. If you're in decent physical shape, you can do the riding, but these events are a huge mental game ... talking yourself into getting back on that bicycle again to keep moving. So, a distance like 400 kms might seem very long when you think "I've got 400 kms to ride", but if you break it down into more manageable chunks it becomes so much easier. Most controls (where we get our card signed along the way) are about 50-70 kms apart. So instead of thinking "I've got 400 kms to ride", I think, "I've got 50 kms to ride to the next control". Well, I've done 50 km rides many, many times - that's not that far! As a part of my training I knock those off in portion of an evening ... so that's as far as I have to think ahead. When I get to that control, I think about the next 50 kms, and so on. Believe me, breaking it all down like that makes the rides so much easier.
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Old 02-02-05, 01:08 PM
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I've been through the BC Randonneur website many many times and loked at photos etc. It seems I'll be one of the youngest by quite a bit. Might be a bit awkward.
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Old 02-02-05, 01:11 PM
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Paul - that was a great journal of your experience. I can't believe that you had so many flats, though (I thought it was bad that I had 2 flats this season). Did you ever find out what was causing them?

Michka - sounds like you are ready for RAAM...
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Old 02-02-05, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jazzy_cyclist
Paul - that was a great journal of your experience. I can't believe that you had so many flats, though (I thought it was bad that I had 2 flats this season). Did you ever find out what was causing them?

Michka - sounds like you are ready for RAAM...

The desert is an extremely thorny place (all the plants are evil as someone I knew once said). Every last thorn in the road washes onto the shoulder when it rains. The combo of losing my kevlar tire and the thorns with a non-kevlar emergency tire made for the perfect storm so to speak. Every one of those flats after the first 2 would have sealed if I had been using slime. I have made a few changes to my seat pack it goes without saying. My spare tube is a slime tube now. I also am going to try and find a foldable kevlar belted tire to use as my spare. As far as believability, I didn't believe it either after the 6th or 7th. I have ridden many miles in the rain before and since and haven't had problems like that (new gatorskin on the front now). I think if you are riding in the rain in the desert, kevlar tires and slime are really good ideas at this point! I figure though that ride probably gave me really good training for the 400k and above brevets though since I did so much night riding and night flat repair.
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Old 02-02-05, 01:58 PM
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Are those people, people who would race in the Tdf?
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Old 02-02-05, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by hi565
Are those people, people who would race in the Tdf?
Who? Randonneurs in general? Or the RAAM riders?


Randonneuring is not racing, and there are rarely any prizes greater than perhaps a medal for finishing within the allotted time (no First, Second, Third medals or anything like that, we all get the same medal). But from what I've heard there have been ex-TDF riders on the Paris-Brest-Paris.

As for the RAAM, I don't believe any TDF riders have tried it, but I could be mistaken.

Generally, the people who ride these things are ordinary people who have a deep passion for long distance riding.
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Old 02-02-05, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by hi565
Are those people, people who would race in the Tdf?
If I'm not mistaken, there is (was?) a rule that you are not allowed to participate in randonneur events within a certain numbers of years (two, IIRC) after a professional career. Since the speeds are so slow (by pro standards) and with a minimum allowed time (the overall average speed (including stops) must not be higher than ~30kph) it is not really designed for them.



Originally Posted by Machka
Randonneuring is not racing
And that is why I don't consider RAAM to be a randonneuring event. It is by both name and format a racing event [i.e. a winner, support is mandatory (while discouraged in randonneuring), maximum time determined by the winning time, etc]. Another similar event in Europe is LeTourDirect.

/Csson
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Old 02-02-05, 05:05 PM
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Jonathon Boyer has ridden the Tour de France and then RAAM after he retired from UCI competition. I can't remember what year he rode RAAM, but it was a bit of a farce. All the other RAAM competitors were riding around the clock in their epic struggle of sleep deprivation and survival, while Jonathon would get up in the morning, climb on the bike, ride till the evening, go to bed, and sleep 6 hours every night. He was pictured reading the paper and drinking coffee in the morning like a businessman going to work. He won decisively.
 
Old 02-02-05, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Who? Randonneurs in general? Or the RAAM riders?


Randonneuring is not racing, and there are rarely any prizes greater than perhaps a medal for finishing within the allotted time (no First, Second, Third medals or anything like that, we all get the same medal). But from what I've heard there have been ex-TDF riders on the Paris-Brest-Paris.

As for the RAAM, I don't believe any TDF riders have tried it, but I could be mistaken.

Generally, the people who ride these things are ordinary people who have a deep passion for long distance riding.
I wasnt talking in terms of racing but in terms of in the saddle for a long time.
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Old 02-02-05, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by hi565
I wasnt talking in terms of racing but in terms of in the saddle for a long time.


On the TDF all the riders ride a certain distance each day (like 200K, for example), and then they stop spend the rest of the day at their hotels where they eat, get their massage, soak in hot bath, sleep, or whatever.

On a 1200K brevet, the riders just keep riding, there's no set distance each day, and there's not usually much time to stop for very long. Randonneurs do have to stop at controls along the way to have our cards signed, but we are not required to do anything else at those controls. However, usually we grab a quick bite to eat and use the toilet, and perhaps if we're very tired, we might nap. On my 1200K brevets, I've managed anywhere from about 5-8 hours of sleep in the 90 hours.


However, the TDF goes on for 3 weeks, and the riders are giving everything they have every day (for 4 or 6 or whatever hours a day), where a 1200K brevet is over in 3.5 days (90 hours), tops. Having said that though, most 1200K riders do spend quite a bit of time in the saddle preparing, it's not like we just hop on our bicycles and ride for 3.5 days straight right out of the winter/off season.


You can't really compare the two very well ... they're like different sports with different goals and attitudes.
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Old 02-02-05, 06:10 PM
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How much time per week do you spend riding, typically? I guess I'm thinking summer, when the events are scheduled.

Thanks for all the info - I figure I've done plenty of centuries, why not try a 200K at least? Should be ready to go for the May 200K in Iowa.
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Old 02-02-05, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by don d.
Jonathon Boyer has ridden the Tour de France and then RAAM after he retired from UCI competition. I can't remember what year he rode RAAM, but it was a bit of a farce. All the other RAAM competitors were riding around the clock in their epic struggle of sleep deprivation and survival, while Jonathon would get up in the morning, climb on the bike, ride till the evening, go to bed, and sleep 6 hours every night. He was pictured reading the paper and drinking coffee in the morning like a businessman going to work. He won decisively.
Actually, from this page at the ultracycling hall of fame website, it seems that Boyer did win in 1985 but not everyone agrees that he won easily . . .

"Credibility for the race was finally achieved in RAAM '85, specifically the Jonathan Boyer vs. Mike Secrest match-up. This was a defining moment in ultra-marathon cycling. Boyer entered the race as one of America's greatest cyclists, a top ten finisher in the Tour de France. He was the consummate professional cyclist and was confident that no one else would "give him a race." The bicycle racing community believed that the typical RAAM riders were merely tourists and not fast. Finally, a real racer was going to prove it. Boyer ended up winning; however' Mike Secrest with roots in ultra-marathon, matched him pedal for pedal and only lost by two hours. Boyer was totally surprised by this. He couldn't shake Secrest. I watched him try for most of the race. If Secrest had not performed like he did, Boyer's victory would have had resounding repercussions in the cycling industry. RAAM riders would have been totally discounted in the bike press, something they would have enjoyed doing. I really believe Secrest saved our reputation for many races to come. He proved that an ultra-marathoner has speed. Boyer was challenged big time and was humbled by Secrest."
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Old 02-02-05, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by iowarose
How much time per week do you spend riding, typically? I guess I'm thinking summer, when the events are scheduled.

Thanks for all the info - I figure I've done plenty of centuries, why not try a 200K at least? Should be ready to go for the May 200K in Iowa.

Here are some charts showing the riding I've been doing over the past few years:

https://ca.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/mac...=/5aa0&.src=ph


I guess, typically, 200+ miles a week, depending on events - obviously if I'm doing a 600K (360 miles), I'll do more miles that week.
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Old 02-03-05, 09:28 AM
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It looks like the Ohio Randonneurs have a 100k (Populaire?) in March to start the season. I may try this one out as an intro into Randonneuring. I've done plenty of long distance riding before and 62mi should not be a problem, but at least get my feet wet with the parameters.

Then it's a 150k in first weekend of April and a 200k the next weekend. Only problem is they are a bit of a drive (3hrs+) as they are south of Columbus.
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Old 02-03-05, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by sat_cycle
Actually, from this page at the ultracycling hall of fame website, it seems that Boyer did win in 1985 but not everyone agrees that he won easily . . .

"Credibility for the race was finally achieved in RAAM '85, specifically the Jonathan Boyer vs. Mike Secrest match-up...Boyer was challenged big time and was humbled by Secrest."
Hmmm, so the writer is saying the race achieved credibility when a UCI cyclist, Boyer, who couldn't even crack the top ten in the Tour de France, beat the best ultramarathon cyclist on earth at the time?(Is there an emoticon for confused?)

Boyer beat Secrest but was humbled by him?(Is there an emoticon for confused?)

In the TDF, a rally race, a victory by 20 minutes over 21 days covering ~3500km is considered a dominant performance, but when Boyer beats Secrest by 2 hrs in a race over what was it, 12 days?, covering ~3000 miles, Boyer is humbled?(Is there an emoticon for confused?)

Well, I guess there is some confusion somewhere about the race, isn't there.
 

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